I wrote this right after GreenBuild 2007- but life got in the way of me adding pictures and posting sooner. Hopefully I can post more regularly. Check out my summary of the events I attended-

I will leave the Expo summary to Amanda. I was able to attend the opening plenary session with speeches by Rick Fedrizzi, President and CEO of USGBC and former President Bill Clinton amongst others. The choir was large and preaching was vibrant. In order to keep the energy up for the other 364 days a website was launched: GreenBuild365 I also attended six education sessions…

Pioneering Thresholds of Sustainable Urbanism was session that unveiled LEED-ND (Neighborhood Development). Doug Farr amongst other passionate speakers discussed that it takes more then individual green buildings to make a sustainable future for our children’s children- children should not be having children, but that will be a future post.

Joe Van Bellegham and Jonathan Westeinde of Windmill Development Group discussed creating high performance buildings and sustainable neighborhoods from a developers perspective. The idea of a developer who cares about more then profits is somewhat of unicorn– stuff or fantasy and folktales; however they take the triple bottom line approach to making decisions. Dockside green was the main project presented. I’m not sure if any description I would write could do justice to the project. It was truly inspiring to hear about the work they are doing. From energy efficient buildings; local sewage treatment to make the residents money and handle waste locally; to providing jobs for original Americans. Check out the website for more information.

From Winter Gardens to Desert Tents: Advancements in the science of Facade Design show how engineers and facade designers solve the problems architects create. The presentation started out as a scrum with Duncan Phillips of Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Consulting Engineers; Marc Simmons of Front Inc.; and Paul Stoller of Atelier Ten quickly describing the basic physics that act on a building. From there they showed numerous case studies of cutting edge projects from around the world; however the zenith of high performance buildings are igloos and straw huts. They use local materials to keep the inhabitants comfortable. Using nothing but snow and ice an igloo can create a 70 degree temperature differential from -40 to 30. If only more buildings could perform that well with limited heat and be recycled on site. The most important message I got was study all the aspects of a problem, define a range of solutions and find the point of diminishing returns for an optimal solution. This is different then the typical Beaux-Arts approach of sketch out an idea and make it work, even if it is wrong.

What do you get when you have Grimshaw Architects, who are passionate about sailing, design a carbon-free community? A vision of utilizing local resources, especially the wind and the sea to create a community that is planned on being net zero carbon, but it is being held up by red tape. Las Palmas Inner Harbour Redevelopment is planning on using large scale wind turbines for electrical generation and tourist attraction. Charlie Paton was not able to present his idea of Seawater Greenhouses, so an associate from Grimshaw filled in for him. The idea is to create an environment for agriculture in hot arid climates on the seacoast that desalinates water and uses it for irrigation. A large scale version of this technology is planned for Las Palmas that will create potable water for the community and act a backdrop for an outdoor theater. I hope they get this project moving so I can take a sailing holiday in Spain. On another note, they mentioned a curtain wall system they designed for a marine hardware manufacturer to utilize high strength rope as the framing system- Flexxwall -although is was a little commercial for this product, I was sold.

Although I managed to attend two more sessions they were not worth writing about.